28 January 2007

New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill

Each New Years and Queens Birthday I seem to get grumpy. In my view, the removal of titular titles from our honours system was naff. First, it's led to confusion whereby the public don't really understand the changes or the new system (the newspapers still report "formerly a Knighthood etc"). Secondly, the change seems symptomatic of the tall poppy syndrome - really, though, honouring our highest achievers *is* the essence of the honours system. Thirdly, the change was made unilaterally by the government, that is by Royal Warrant (ie , without the mandate of Parliament as a whole or support of all parties). The adoption of the New Zealand Order of Merit was also undertaken by Royal Warrant but I understand this had more widespread support. Don't get me wrong. I'm not an old school monarchist. Personally, I'd like to convert to a republic and replace the Queen as head of state with a New Zealander. And, also, I'm generally someone who prefers indigenous traditions. But, that's principally what we've got - we've adopted the NZ Order of Merit (which I support). I just don't understand why we can also incorporate an element in that system that reflects our British origins - a fusion of historic and indigenous traditions. Rather than just grumble about it, I thought this year I would draft an amendment bill to restore titular titles. The Bill includes one other substantive amendment: it would allow the use of both English and Te Reo Māori appellations. This helps reinforce the indigenous nature of our system. The Bill is free to a good home! > New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill (pdf)
New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill Member's Bill Explanatory Note
In May 2000 the New Zealand Order of Merit was changed to remove titular titles, that is, the recipients of the highest honours were no longer entitled to use the appellations of "Sir" and "Dame" before their names. The previous Knight or Dame Grand Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit were refashioned to be Principal Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Knight or Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit were refashioned to be Distinguished Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit. This change has led to confusion about the honours and fails to honour the members of the Order in a manner readily understood by the public. This Bill restores the previous position. This Bill converts awarded since the change, but allows individual members of the Order to decline the conversion. It also makes one further change, allowing Knights and Dames to also use a Te Reo Māori form of appellation, "Tā" and "Kahurangi". This reinforces the indigenous nature of the Order.
[Member of Parliament] New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill Member's Bill Contents
1 Title 2 Commencement 3 Purpose 4 Reinstatement of titular titles 5 Conversion of honours awarded under the Additional Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit 6 Exceptions to conversion 7 Te Reo Māori Titular Titles
The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows: 1 Title This Act is the New Zealand Order of Merit (Titular Titles) Bill 2007. 2 Commencement (1) This Act, except for section 5, comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent. (2) Section 5 of this Act comes into force 60 days after the date on which the Act receives the Royal assent 3 Purpose The purpose of this Act is: (a) to reinstate titular titles, namely "Sir" and "Dame", for the highest honours awarded under the New Zealand Order of Merit; (c) to amend the Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit to provide for titular titles in Te Reo Māori, namely "Tā" and "Kahurangi".
Conversion of honours
4 Reinstatement of titular titles The Additional Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit are hereby revoked. 5 Conversion of honours awarded under the Additional Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit (1) A person admitted to the membership of the Order between 18 May 2000 and the commencement of this section shall have their membership altered as follows: (a) A Chancellor of the Order shall be styled Chancellor of the Order or Chancellor and Principal Knight or Dame Grand Companion of the Order. (b) A person admitted into the first level of the Order shall be designated a Knight or Dame Grand Companion of the Order. (c) A person admitted into the second level of the Order shall be designated a Knight or Dame Companion of the Order. (2) To avoid any doubt, any person referred to in subsection (1) may use the post‑nominal letters and appellations set out in the Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit. (3) The Chancellor may perform, in relation to any person referred to in subsection (1), the ceremony of investiture referred to in clause 16 of the Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit and confer the Accolade of Knighthood on Knight Grand Companions and Knight Companions to recognise the conversion of their membership. 6 Exceptions to conversion (1) A member referred to in section 5 may decline to have their membership converted by giving written notice accordingly to the Chancellor before the commencement of section 5. (2) The provisions of the Additional Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit 2000 continue to apply to any person who gives notice in accordance with subsection 1.
Te Reo Māori Titular Titles
7 Te Reo Māori Titular Titles Clause 20 of the Statutes of the New Zealand Order of Merit is revoked and the following clause is substituted: "20. Ordinary and Additional members of the first and second levels of this Order may use the following appellations before their forenames from the date of their appointment: (a) in the case of a man of, "Sir" or "Tā"; and (b) in the case of a woman, "Dame" or "Kahurangi"."
If you're interested, the members of the New Zealand Order of Merit that would be entitled to Knighthoods / Damehoods if this Bill was passed are as follows: Principal Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit (May 2000-) The Right Reverend Te Whakahuihui VERCOE, P.C.N.Z.M., M.B.E. Emeritus Professor Lloyd George GEERING, O.N.Z, P.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. The Honourable Dame Silvia Rose CARTWRIGHT, P.C.N.Z.M., D.B.E. Sir Patrick Ledger GOODMAN, P.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. The Right Honourable Sir Ivor Lloyd Morgan RICHARDSON, P.C.N.Z.M., Professor Paul Terence CALLAGHAN, P.C.N.Z.M., The Honourable Anand SATYANAND, P.C.N.Z.M., D.C.N.Z.M. Distinguished Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit (May 2000-) Miss (Isoleen) Heather BEGG, D.C.N.Z.M., O.B.E. Russell COUTTS, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. Mrs Grace Shellie HOLLANDER, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E., J.P. The Honourable Douglas Lorimer KIDD, D.C.N.Z.M. Professor Vincent O'SULLIVAN D.C.N.Z.M. Mrs Jocelyn Barbara FISH, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E., J.P. The Right Honourable Thomas Munro GAULT, D.C.N.Z.M. Sister Patricia Mary HOOK, D.C.N.Z.M. Professor Alan Francis MARK, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. Colin Earl MEADS, D.C.N.Z.M., M.B.E. Mrs Patricia Mary HARRISON, D.C.N.Z.M., Q.S.O. The Right Honourable John Steele HENRY, Q.C., D.C.N.Z.M. Dr David Henry LEWIS, D.C.N.Z.M. Sister Pauline Margaret O'REGAN, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. Dr Ranginui Joseph Isaac WALKER, D.C.N.Z.M. Mrs Lynley Stuart DODD, D.C.N.Z.M. Mrs Margaret Mary MILLARD, D.C.N.Z.M., J.P. Dr Peter George SNELL, D.C.N.Z.M., O.B.E. The Right Honourable Edmund Walter THOMAS, Q.C., D.C.N.Z.M., Leslie HUTCHINS, D.C.N.Z.M., O.B.E., J.P. Professor Vaughan Frederick Randal JONES D.C.N.Z.M. Dr David Charles MAUGER, D.C.N.Z.M. Mrs Dorothy Huhana MIHINUI, D.C.N.Z.M., M.B.E., J.P. Dr Margaret June SPARROW, D.C.N.Z.M., M.B.E. Mrs Sukhinder Kaur TURNER, D.C.N.Z.M. Dr (Vera) Doreen BLUMHARDT, O.N.Z., D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. The Right Honourable Jennifer Mary SHIPLEY, D.C.N.Z.M. Bruce Houlton SLANE, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. Peter John TRAPSKI, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. Eion Sinclair EDGAR, D.C.N.Z.M., C.N.Z.M. Mrs Alison Mary ROXBURGH, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E., Q.S.O., J.P. Archie John Te Atawhai TAIAROA, D.C.N.Z.M. Mrs Robin Adair WHITE, D.C.N.Z.M. Mr Leonard Ramsay CASTLE, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. Miss Anne Anituatua DELAMERE, D.C.N.Z.M., Q.S.O. Mr John Packard GOULTER, D.C.N.Z.M., J.P. Judge Patrick Desmond MAHONY, D.C.N.Z.M. Mrs Deirdre Glenna MILNE, D.C.N.Z.M., Q.S.O. The Honourable Noel Crossley ANDERSON, D.C.N.Z.M. Associate Professor Witi Tame IHIMAERA SMILER, D.C.N.Z.M., Q.S.M. Mr Oswald George JAMES, D.C.N.Z.M., O.B.E. The Right Reverend Dr Penelope Ann Bansall JAMIESON, D.C.N.Z.M., Mrs Lois Joan MUIR, D.C.N.Z.M., O.B.E, Professor Donald Ward BEAVEN, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. The Right Honourable Peter BLANCHARD, D.C.N.Z.M. Dr Mary Josephine (Joy) DRAYTON, D.C.N.Z.M., C.N.Z.M., M.B.E. Dr Alan Russell FRAMPTON, D.C.N.Z.M. Mr Tumu TE HEUHEU, D.C.N.Z.M. Chief District Court Judge David James CARRUTHERS, D.C.N.Z.M. Ms Cassia Joy COWLEY, D.C.N.Z.M., O.B.E. Mr George Vjeceslav FISTONICH, D.C.N.Z.M. Professor Linda Jane HOLLOWAY, D.C.N.Z.M., O.N.Z.M. Emeritus Professor Judith Mary Caroline BINNEY, D.C.N.Z.M., C.N.Z.M. Mr David Rendel Kingston GASCOIGNE, D.C.N.Z.M., C.B.E. Mr Ralph James NORRIS D.C.N.Z.M. The Right Honourable Andrew Patrick Charles TIPPING, D.C.N.Z.M. Mrs Christine McKelvie COLE CATLEY, D.C.N.Z.M., Q.S.M. Dr Sidney Moko MEAD, D.C.N.Z.M. Mr Noel Stuart ROBINSON, D.C.N.Z.M., Mr Maurice John BELGRAVE, D.C.N.Z.M., Professor Margaret CLARK, D.C.N.Z.M., C.M.G., J.P. The Honourable John Joseph McGRATH, D.C.N.Z.M. Mr Nigel John Dermot (Sam) NEILL, D.C.N.Z.M., O.B.E., Mr Tennant Edward (Tay) WILSON, D.C.N.Z.M., O.B.E.


Lewis Holden said...

Well, you're probably one of the few republicans who supports Knighthoods and Damehoods... but good onya anyway.

Idiot/Savant said...

Why on earth would we want to resurrect the verbal forelock tugging and deference of calling people "sir"? It goes entirely against the grain of the egalitarian society we've been trying to create in New Zealand since the beginning.

If people want to play at knights and castles, they should bloody well join the SCA, not try and dig up the rotting corpse of aristocracy.

Brian said...

Removing titular titles from our royal honours system was one of the biggest mistakes made I feel. titular titles mean something, these PC lefty merit badges are not worth the medal they are printed on.

Chris Bishop said...

I/S: Stop creating straw men. Nobody "forelock tugs" anymore, and Sirs and Dames hardly meant people "deferred" to them. Nobody wants to play "knights and castles". Titular honours in modern NZ were merely symbolic recognition of people deserving honour from the community: that is all. They only symbolise what you see in them, and I think the vast majority of NZers saw them for what they were: good ways for the community to express acclaim.

Anonymous said...

bijqaesgI am all for reinstatement of Sirs and Dames for the very reason that they are recognisable and actually mean something.

They definitely don't cause `forelock tugging' as evidenced by Sir Richard Hadlee often being referred to as `Sir Paddles' and Sir Brian Lochore referred to as `BJ'.

As Christopher says they were/are good ways for the community to express acclaim!

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the right way to go about this be to issue a new set of Statutes for the Order, rather than using Parliament? Since Orders of Chivalry are usually royal rather than parliamentary institutions...

And as for the honours themselves, maybe people should realise that the NZ Order of Merit is limited to 30 Principal Companions/Knights Grand Companion, like it is with the Knights Grand Cross of the British Orders, so even if the knightly title isn't reinstated, the sash and gold badge should be sufficient tokens of at least the Government's recognition.

Dean Knight said...

Yes, a new set of statutes is another way (and probably a tidier way) to achieve the outcome. However, it's unlikelt the government will change their mind. Given that, the only way to force the issue is a member's bill (hopefully a majority could be garned on this issue, even if the Labour party doesn't support it).

Anonymous said...

Where is Peter Mahon?

Anonymous said...

Where is Peter Mahon?
We are the most magic country on Earth.
Edmund Hillary is the only person ever to have had a Knighthood thrust upon him(everyone has been asked first),and The Honourable Justice Peter Mahon is the only High Court Judge in the history of The British Empire not to have been Knighted.
Go figure.

Unknown said...

To change the system back to what it was before will be a little difficult as the present members of the "head-shed" won't want to see any change at all.

Just look at it this way - Read the Australian Constitution online sometime and lookat at the preamble, para 6, and see that NZ is still a part of Ozz. This could be an avenue to persue to rid ourselves of the monarchist ways and at the same time still retain a modecom of titles that reflect the way WE want to be.

No forelock tugs, bowing, playing make-believe or castles in the air stuff.

Morgan said...

Getting rid of Knighthoods and Damehoods was a tragedy, but to be expected from a Labour party hell bent on getting rid of anything that aligns us with the monarchy - next to go are Queen's Counsel (QC's). The fact that journalists have to refer to what a modern (meaningless) title was equivalent in the old system proves the devaluation of our honours system. Let us again recognise our greatest citizens with a worthy title.

Anonymous said...

The real problem is not the presense or absence of titles: its the fucking labour party hacks and "cash for honours" candidates.

Much more important than bringing back "Sir" and "Dame" is to first, prosecute the Labour party and cabinent members individually for the corruption involved in cash for honours and cash for hacks;
and then to purge the rolls of the people who don't deserve to be there!

And - btw - such corruption is against exactly the same law that's bringing down Gordon Brown!

Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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